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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  July 19, 2009 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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( multitude of overlapping voices ) captioning sponsored by cbs >> narrator: there are thousands of voices delivering the news today, but there once was a time, not long ago, when one voice mattered most. >> good evening from cbs news control center in new york. this is walter cronkite reporting. tonight, you'll see and hear... >> there is no way you can analyze it. you can't send it off to c.s.i. and say, "all right, look at the d.n.a. of walter cronkite, and how do we replace that or replicate it?" >> there was a time when someone, one person could say,
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"that's the way it is." >> and that's the way it is. that's the way it is. and that's the way it is. >> and we all trusted it was true. >> and it gave such a "global village" feel to things, no one moved. america gathered. this was the gateway to the american evening. >> we got 30 seconds... >> the united states told the communists... >> i'm the son of a newsman, and it's a huge part of my life. i grew up in a newsroom. i know walter very well. we did a live television show. it's fun to be around somebody who's actually been part of real historical events. >> it looks like a good flight. oh, go, baby. a witness to that hilton violence said it seemed to be unprovoked on the part of the demonstrators. >> you know, the guy who held our hands through some of the biggest changes in our country's history. >> in dallas, texas... >> we didn't know whether john f. kennedy had died. walter was the one who told us. >> president kennedy died at
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1:00 p.m., central standard time, 2:00 eastern standard time, some 38 minutes ago. >> there's something that is so quintessentially american about walter cronkite-- his honesty and candor in difficult times. >> to me, he represents the best of the first amendment, the best of the freedom of the press. >> at first, it was called the watergate caper... >> he understood how to translate things to the television medium and make them work. >> insure man's survival in the hostile environment of outer space. >> walter cronkite didn't just play a reporter on tv. he was a reporter. >> ted baxter, walter cronkite. ( laughter ) >> it's an honor to meet you, mr. cronkite. >> call me walter. ( laughter )
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>> it's amazing to see the man. for me, he's such an icon. wait a minute, you're walter cronkite. "and that's the way it is!" hold on, walter, can you just a moment? meeting him was the best thing. how you doing? the name's robin. >> robin, what's your favorite disney film? >> he almost feels like an uncle to me, because at that point in american history, he was the voice. >> hello. i'm walter cronkite. >> a voice that people believe and trust. >> the most wonderful combination of a certain steel of integrity, but absolute humanity. >> i invited him to a grateful dead show, and he said, "i love your music." he was a freedom fighter. and he was an honest, truthful guy that used his power, while he was here on earth, well. he was for the good.
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>> narrator: "that's the way it was: remembering walter cronkite." ( grateful dead playing "not fade away" )
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because every bill i get goes right into my inbox not my mailbox. i pay for everything online so i can get these text messages; they're called "spending alerts", i feel more in control. my husband feels funky, bunky and crunky. but i've stopped using my pet's names as passwords. (announcer) at citi, we know everyone's talking about keeping money safe. and we've got lots of ways to help. like spending alerts. because when your money's safe, your mind's at ease. that's why citi never sleeps. >> please welcome the most trusted man in america, walter cronkite. walter? ( applause ) >> "the most trusted man in america." how does a guy get to be that? >> i think i was a workaholic
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>> i think i was a workaholic from the very beginning. it just seemed to me i always had two or three jobs going at the same time. but it was the newspaper work for me-- i just fell in love with the darned business. i went off to war shortly after pearl harbor. i was 25 at the time. >> i don't know of another reporter who has a better record of covering combat than walter did in world war ii. he got where the work was, he got where the fighting was. >> he was in london as a journalist, and then he started flying bombing missions. it's a tough gig, you know, given the fact that, you know, they're not going to just say, "look, it's a journalist. we cannot shoot at that plane," you know. and he would come back and give these reports about... you know, on the mission. >> i'm just back from the biggest assignment that any american reporter could have so far in this war, covering the occupation of north africa by american troops. it was my first time on camera.
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i never took any elocution lessons, no diction lessons. i might have been a pretty decent broadcaster if i had. what you see, i'm afraid, is what you get. in 1950, i got a call from ed murrow, who wanted me to come to work at cbs. but now that i had a family, a mortgage, i thought "well, why not?" >> cue walter! >> hello, everyone. here we are again in studio a, our cbs television control point for the westinghouse coverage, this time, of the democratic national convention. >> i lived in chicago in 1952. i watched walter cover the democratic and republican conventions in that year, and i was riveted. >> the first session could contain some interesting developments, perhaps even a little fireworks. >> don't get panicky! don't get panicky! it's only a newspaper. take it easy. >> the governor of south carolina had been speaking. when he came back, he said, "i want to assure this convention..."
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>> ...that i did not set the place on fire. ( applause ) >> this is walter cronkite on the greenland icecap. >> "beyond the horizon lies the north pole. nice to meet you. i hope we'll have a good day. would you like a piece of fish?" i didn't watch much television at all. but something i did watch was "the 20th century with walter cronkite." >> this is our story, as the prudential insurance company of america presents "the 20th century." >> it's a great voice, coming from a great man. that's a great thing. >> we have just had, i've been advised, some film in from the defense department. the first official... >> we were making it up as we went along. >> here it is. this is the explorer as it is being moved to the gantry. unfortunately, however, the film seems to be upside down. >> and out of it came today's television. >> flip polarity! flip polarity!
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flip polarity! >> fortunately, the explorer went up right side up, and we're going to see it that way. >> clear that shot. get them out, get them out, get them out.& >> i was assigned to take over the cbs evening news in the spring of 1962. good evening from the cbs news control center in new york. this is walter cronkite reporting. >> you walk into that studio... >> how's it going? what's up? >> were walking into his office, and he was the managing editor, and he was the managing editor. >> i think it's too far down for that, don, do you know what i mean? >> call me tuesday when you get back. >> walter did more than just sit at a desk and read copy off a teleprompter. walter cronkite could pick up the phone and get dwight eisenhower, ronald reagan, jack kennedy on the phone. >> and i remember the first time cbs had a half-hour broadcast was in 1963, and it was walter cronkite, to commemorate that
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broadcast, interviewing the president, jack kennedy. >> mr. president, the only hot war we've got running at the moment is, of course, the one in vietnam. >> i don't think that, unless a greater effort is made by the government to win popular support, that the war can be won out there. in the final analysis, it's their war. they're the ones who have to win it or lose it. >> a couple of months later, when kennedy was assassinated, i remember thinking, "isn't that ironic? just a couple of months ago, he was interviewing the president, and now he's reporting on his death." >> i was standing, actually, at the united press machine at the moment that the bulletin came that shots rang out while the
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president's motorcade drove through the streets of dallas. this is walter cronkite in our newsroom... i said, "let's get on the air. let's get on the air." there has been an attempt, as perhaps you know now, on the life of president kennedy. he was wounded in an automobile driving from dallas airport into downtown dallas. i was suffering the same thing the people were. "this can't happen. my god." their condition is as yet unknown. and when you finally had to say, "it's official, the president is dead"-- pretty tough words in a situation like that. they were hard to come by. from dallas, texas, the flash, apparently official: president kennedy died at 1:00 p.m. central standard time, 2:00 eastern standard time, some 38 minutes ago. vice-president lyndon johnson has left the hospital in dallas. but we do not know to where he has proceeded.
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presumably, he will be taking the oath of office shortly, and become the 36th president of the united states. >> he had to take a moment, take off his glasses. when that happens, you realize a whole nation can't speak. >> he suffered and he pulled it right back. it was, simultaneously, "oh, heaven, what do we do now?" and "we'll go on." >> president kennedy at dallas airport this morning was cheerful and waving. it had been quite a triumphal tour of texas over the last 48 hours. >> walter cronkite was the person who connected us all on that day. >> the police in dallas, texas, are convinced they have the man. this is the man charged with the murder of president kennedy.
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>> friday, the president was assassinated. saturday... sunday, when incredibly-- the assassin was assassinated. >> there is lee harvey oswald. ( gunshots ) >> he's been shot. he's been shot. lee oswald has been shot. >> it was a very frightened country. walter became, not only everybody's anchorman, he was everybody's minister, priest and rabbi. he calmed america down. >> and i think the day president kennedy died was the day that television news as we now know it was born, for all intents and purposes. and walter cronkite was a very important part of making it so. >> john fitzgerald kennedy's final journey. mrs. kennedy holding back her tears as, indeed, she has publicly ever since the tragic events of friday.
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the finality of it overwhelmed me. up until then, there was a nightmare quality as developments piled one on the other. this said: "it's all true. it had happened. it was over, it was done. we're about to bury it, bury something of our past along with that man." john-john saluting-- tough time. ( crying ) anchormen shouldn't cry.
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( screaming ) >> the beatles were on american television for the first time, not as history seems to have it recorded-- on "the ed sullivan show"-- but on "the cbs evening news with walter cronkite." if there's some credit in history for that, i want it. ( screaming ) >> november 22, 1963, the "cbs morning news" aired a piece about the beatles. >> yeah, yeah, yeah. those are the beatles, those are, and this is beatle land,
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formerly known as britain, where an epidemic called beatlemania has seized the teenage population. >> because president kennedy died, it never made air that night. later in december, walter decided to run the piece, because he thought this was the time when americans needed to be uplifted. ( beatles singing "she loves you" ) >> we just hope we're going to have quite a run. >> and, my gosh, we weren't off the air one minute that i had a phone call from ed sullivan, who i knew quite well. and ed said, "walter, walter, tell me about those kids. tell me about those kids!" "what kids, ed?" "those kids you just had on the air, the...the... what do you call them-- the bugs, the beatles or something?" >> ladies and gentleman, the beatles! ( kids screaming) ♪ close your eyes and i'll kiss you ♪ tomorrow i'll miss you >> we were invited backstage for that first appearance, and i was able to take my two teenage daughters.
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>> the beatles were everything. they were everything for girls my age at that time, and to be able to even just see them perform, much less meet them, was outrageous. >> i don't think, up to that time, they really cared very much what their father did, but i suddenly was a hero in their eyes. >> ♪ and i'll send all my loving to you ♪ >> ♪ when i was 17 it was a very good year ♪ >> i went into sinatra's office and he said, "what do you want?" i said, "i want to do a documentary on you. i'm going to ask you to sit in a seat opposite walter cronkite. that's the same seat lyndon johnson, dwight eisenhower and jack kennedy sat in. if you don't think you're big enough to sit in that seat, i wouldn't do it if i were you." and he looked at me and he said,
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"i'm recording tomorrow night at united. you want to start then?" >> ♪ when i was 21... >> frank sinatra became quite a close friend, despite an interview that he granted to me. in the middle of the interview, i said, "tell me, frank, what about these allegations of mafia connections?" wham! he got up out of the seat, he stormed out and said, "hewitt, come with me." >> he said, "you know, i ought to kill you." and i said, "you know, with anyone else, that's a figure of speech. with you, it's probably... you probably mean it." and he said, "i mean it." and i said, "well, if i had a choice, i'd rather you didn't." and i left and cronkite stayed and finished the interview. >> what's the reaction of a mother of a highly popular entertainer when she reads these stories about your mobster associations, that sort of stuff in the papers? >> well, there's no degree of truth, to begin with. and we just can't continue to
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try to fight something that has no basis because it... you just tire of it after a while. >> and we got by with it that way, to my satisfaction and, apparently, to his, although he wasn't happy about it. >> man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true, so we are going to stand up right here, amid horses. we're going to stand up right here in alabama amid the billy clubs. we're going to stand up right here in alabama, letting the world know that we are determined to be free. >> this evening, we tell the story of america's biggest civil rights demonstration-- how it began, how it went, what it accomplished. >> walter was one of the few people in power positions that got behind that and pushed the story.
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in birmingham, alabama, 1963, a 16th street baptist church was blown up by klan members. four little girls are murdered. the fact that it was four little girls, the fact that it took place in a church on a sunday-- that really shook people up. >> ♪ we shall overcome >> at that moment that that bomb went off, america understood the real nature of the hate that was preventing integration, particularly in the south, but also throughout america. this was the awakening. >> one, two, three, four. we've dropped the bombs, and now a tremendous g-load as we pull out of that dive. wow! in the early stages of our involvement in vietnam,
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basically, i felt that our course was right. well, colonel, that's a great way to go to war. >> yes, sir. >> my concern grew with the concern of the american people. >> hell no, we won't go! >> the american people were confused. they were confounded by what was going on, even as i was. so i thought, why not go out there and do a first-person story on what i found, what i felt about that war? if the communist intention was to take and seize the cities, they came closer here in hue than in anywhere else. and now, three weeks after the offensive began, the firing still goes on. >> walter was a product, very much, of world war ii, and that war-- the "last good war," as they call it. >> whatever price the communists pay for this offensive, the price to the allied cause was high. >> and for walter to come round to a view that america was
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fighting a wrong war took a bit of real strong stuff. >> we flew out of hue in a helicopter loaded with body bags and dead marines. and as i got back and heard the leadership say, "now, we've got the vietcong on the run. 150,000, 200,000 more men, and we're really going to finish them off." i couldn't help but think, "tell that to the marines. tell it to those guys in that chopper." when i came back, we did a documentary, but in the conclusion of that, i simply told people what i thought about the state of the war in vietnam, and it was that we better get out of it. we have been too often disappointed by the optimism of the american leaders, both in vietnam and washington, to have faith any longer in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds. >> and i think it pained him to have to say what he thought about vietnam, but he also understood how isolating the
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white house can be and how people can get to the point where they don't hear discordant voices. and he thought he knew what the truth was, and he thought he had an obligation to tell it. >> it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out, then, would be to negotiate-- not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy and did the best they could. this is walter cronkite. good night. >> he changed the history of the war overnight. because it was, for that time period, in general, a young person's protest. and it became everyone else's wrong war at that point. >> and lyndon johnson was sitting at a television set that night and said, "if i've lost walter cronkite, i've lost the american people." >> it is remarkable that one
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anchorman, one reporter, one journalist, whatever, could really affect the political fate of the country. but they didn't call walter "the most trusted man in america" for nothing. >> is this walter cronkite's station or david brinkley's? how you doing, walter? >> cue walter. >> this is walter cronkite. good night. then, i thought, why a cold "good night"? all these famous broadcasters have their catch lines. murrow... >> good night, and good luck. >> so why not have one of those? and a nice one might be, "and that's the way it is," because i could say it almost any way. and that's the way it is. that's the way it is. and that's the way it is. >> and that's the way it is. >> now that's the way it is. or ironic, you know, "and that's the way it is?" >> we'll be right back. >> and now, let's all play "what's my line!"
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and now, let's meet our first contestant. will you come in and sign in, please? ( applause ) we'll begin our questioning with dorothy kilgare. >> mr. contestant, would we recognize your name or your face rather than your costume? >> probably.
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>> this is a margarita vision special report. we interrupt our regularly scheduled programming. captain buffett is preparing to leave the earth at any moment
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for the last leg of this amazing journey. jimmy! jimmy! it's time to kick the tires and light the fires, son! >> hell no, we won't go! ( credence clearwater revival plays "born on the bayou" ) >> in those 20 years, while he was on the air, occurred probably some of the most incredible things, i would have to say in, our lifetime. >> good evening. dr. martin luther king, the apostle of nonviolence in the civil rights movement, has been shot to death in memphis, tennessee. >> he was there and reporting it. >> from that building across the street... molotov cocktails, firebombs, sniper fire. >> america ate to walter cronkite. they sat on the couch to walter cronkite.
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and walter gave it to them in as comfortable a way as you could pass on some of that bad news that he was passing on. >> all i want to do is detail what they're doing. >> he learned long ago, i think, a very important lesson that some of us have yet to learn-- that if you're going to work as hard as he did and shoulder the responsibility that he did, you've got to play in equal amounts. >> and you knew he had a real life, and you knew he had that family. the good muscular newsman in him always had the ballast of family, too. and i think it was in there that we trusted him. >> i don't think there was ever a more difficult parental period in our history as there was for us who had teenage children in the 1960s.
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i'll tell you how out of touch i was-- i was way out of touch. our daughter called and said, "some of us have been invited to go to a concert." her mother and i just jumped to a conclusion that this was something that, probably, with the new york philharmonic. my gosh, the next thing we know, coming on television of this wild bunch in the muck and the mud up at woodstock with the dope running rampant. a rock music festival that drew hundreds of thousands of young people... >> my father, of course, was reporting the woodstock festival and was just going, "oh, my god." >> woodstock? concert? could that be where kathy is?! until we got the first phone call from her, "i'm all right. i'm all right." >> stand by, walter. okay, you're on. >> weather good. astronauts in good shape.
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i think that our conquest of space is one of the great stories of the 20th century. i don't know any words for this except the trite ones. tension is mounting here at cape canaveral. >> he was the eyes that the country got to watch that through, as well, because he was like a kid watching those. he couldn't believe it. >> look at this baby-- the saturn v, 363 feet tall. >> he really believed in the program. knew all of the astronauts, cared about them. this is mike wallace at the cbs newsroom in new york. america's first three apollo astronauts were trapped and killed by a flash fire that swept their moon ship early tonight during a launch pad test at cape kennedy in florida. there are the three of them: gus grissom on the left, ed white in the middle, and roger chafee. >> this is a time for great sadness, national sadness, and certainly, the personal sadness of the people in the space program. but it's also a time for courage, and if that sounds
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trite, i'll change the words to guts. that's it-- apollo 11, the beginning of man's greatest adventure. >> i think we forget that the space program wasn't just about exploration. it was about phenomenal bravery in the face of complete unknown. we were looking at nightmare scenarios one after the other. the possibility that they would head to the moon and not be able to come back. it was scary. and he so believed in it, and so saw it as what mankind had to do, that it really did help make us stronger. >> ten, nine, ignition sequence start.
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>> never has there been before, nor will there be anything like this pioneering adventure. what a moment! man on the way to the moon. the landing on the moon presented an interesting emotional challenge for me. i had just as much time to prepare for that landing as the space program did. i'd watched it from the beginning. >> tranquility base here. the eagle has landed. >> oh, boy. and yet, when that vehicle landed on the moon, i was speechless. whew. boy. i really couldn't say a thing. >> and when walter rejoiced over man landing on the moon, america rejoiced with him. >> neil armstrong, 38-year old american, standing on the surface of the moon.
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>> walter cronkite's embrace of that program gave people american heroes at a time when they really needed them. >> i hope they put his ashes in an urn and stick it on to one of those space probes when they go up there. i think walter would feel good just knowing that. >> there are stories that probably do some good in pushing people in the right direction. prime minister begin of israel and president sadat of egypt had been bitter enemies, as all the arab nations are with israel. we got president sadat on the television by satellite. how've you been? how's your health? >> and the first thing he always said to me when we talked was, "well, hello, walter. how's barbara?" >> this was a time when we were competing. for me to be competing with walter cronkite? hey, you know, what bigger honor could i have? >> and i didn't care how barbara was, to tell you the truth, and
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we got over that quite quickly. and then i asked him, i said, "there's talk about your going to jerusalem." how soon are you prepared to go? >> as i told you, as earlier as possible. >> it was walter who said to both anwar sadat and menachem begin, "why don't you get together in jerusalem?" and to everybody's amazement, anwar sadat said yes. >> are you serious about going to israel? >> for sure, walter. >> mr. president, hold on just half a second, will you, sir. just a moment. and we got him on the television, and i reported what sadat had said, and begin kind of looked back and he said, "he said that?" and i said, "yes, he said..." "well, tell him he can come. tell him he can come." ( laughter ) ( grateful dead plays "not fade away ) >> it's not that surprising that he would know heads of state or politicians, but rock musicians. >> ♪ i wanna tell you how it's going to be... ♪ i want to tell you how it's
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going to be ♪ >> certainly, walter had no idea that he was going to fall in with... with the grateful dead. >> i invited him to a grateful dead show. ♪ you know our love will not fade away ♪ >> there was walter cronkite at the soundboard at madison square garden. and he came back at halftime,& and he said, "i was thinking of a thousand reasons to leave early," he said, "but i can't think of one now!" he said, "you guys really get to somebody. i love your music." >> ♪ our love is bigger than a cadillac ♪ >> and that's how it all began. i feel very fortunate to be his friend. he's seen it all. >> he was on the air at the time lyndon johnson passed away. and tom johnson, who was lyndon johnson's press secretary at the time, called cronkite while he was on the air. and he took the call during a commercial.
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but he didn't have all the facts by the time he was back on the air, and so when the camera came back up, he said, "wait a minute. hold on. i'm learning something here." and stayed on the phone talking to tom johnson until he had the who, what, why, where, when. and then told the american public that lyndon johnson passed away. >> i'm talking to tom johnson, the press secretary for lyndon johnson. it was reported that the 36th president of the united states died this afternoon. >> now, in all this day, when it has to be perfect, and it has to be right, and you can't make a mistake on the air, and all of that, cronkite understood, "hey, we're about learning stuff here. we're about finding out things." and so he just told the american public watching his broadcast that night to wait a minute, "while i find out what's going on, and then i'll tell you." >> they tell me this world i'm living in is limited only by my imagination. first of all, let me get rid of this ridiculous hat.
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now then, i could, for instance, decide i didn't like this costume. let's say change it all or change the color of my boutonniere, or if i want to live in a more mundane world, i could give you a tap dance. and if all else fails, i can simply disappear. >> narrator: "that's the way it was: remembering walter cronkite." a cbs news special will continue. a heart attack at 53. i had felt fine. but turns out... my cholesterol and other risk factors... increased my chance of a heart attack. i should've done something. now, i trust my heart to lipitor.
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>> we take you now to athens, outside the prison where socrates is being held. all things are as they were then, except you are there! one time, i got invited to
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appear on "the mary tyler moore show." i was tickled to death. >> ted baxter, walter cronkite. ( laughter ) >> it's an honor to meet you, mr. cronkite. >> call me walter. ( laughter ) the only problem with doing the show, for me, was that i wanted to hang around longer and, unfortunately, we did it in one take. >> did you catch my award-winning newscast? >> i'm afraid i didn't. >> i remember most of it. good evening. this is ted baxter. energy czar announces economic crackdown-- this story and others after this commercial message. >> i think i better be getting to the airport. >> i'll go with you. i'll give you the rest of the news on the way. >> i'm going to get you for this. ( laughter ) >> he took the job seriously, he took the responsibility seriously. and it's hard to say that he didn't take himself seriously.
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but you never felt that he was taking himself all that seriously. >> good evening. good god, what's this lead about?! oh, that's right, that's right. ( laughter ) >> the best time to be with walter is when he was with betsy, you know, and one cocktail, that was the... because then they both get kind of wonderfully salty and kind of funny. "two irish men walk out of a bar... it could happen." and it's the idea of him telling a joke at all. it's like, "what?" he can be, and is, really funny. >> otherwise, i'd be all right. >> and really elegant, but still kick-ass funny, if you can say "kick" on television. >> now listen everybody, don't get nervous, for heaven's sakes. try to do it just like we rehearsed it. ( laughter ) >> i remember when he started talking about retiring. i'm going, "you know, i just can't see him with a button-down cardigan in the workshop building, you know, decoys or something. >> all cameras will be hot, folks.
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>> i couldn't shake the feeling when he retired, that something more than one man was leaving the chair. >> we're rolling. >> this is my last broadcast as the anchorman of the cbs evening news. for me, it's a moment for which i long have planned, but which, nevertheless, comes with some sadness. for almost two decades, after all, we've been meeting like this in the evenings. and i'll miss that. dan rather will be sitting in here for the next few years. good night. >> walter cronkite was a justified legend. nobody replaces walter cronkite. i succeeded him, but i didn't replace him. >> regret-- i stepped down with delight that i was now going to have some free time to be with my family. i must say that it lasted only a short time-- that i realized that i had left something behind that i was missing. >> the passing of the years did not diminish, as nearly as i
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could tell, one iota his interest in and love for his country, and his desire to see the world get better. >> we're not doing our job in television news nearly, and we are endangering the democracy by our failure to understand and to carry out our responsibility in this regard. >> a lot of people wanted him to run for office, and he could have. >> "president cronkite"-- i like the way that sounds. you know, he was that popular. and he would have made a damn good president. >> he absolutely loved people. >> he's come to my house in italy. spent a week there. we had a great time. he'll be sitting with someone and say, "tell me about this" or "tell me about your life." and he's interested, as opposed to wanting to be interesting. he's sort of interested. >> who's the most interesting person you've ever met and why?
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oh, probably my wife. ( laughter and applause ) >> when he lost his north star in life, when we lost betsy cronkite, a lot of us worried that there would be a wobble in his trajectory. >> she was a fantastic, fantastic woman and a great leveling presence in his life. but life went on, it turns out, for this man with so many lives. >> ♪ hallelujah hallelujah ♪ hallelujah hallelujah ♪ hallelujah >> to see him conducting the orchestra, a great thing to see. that was another skill he had i didn't know.
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maybe, if all of a sudden he put on skates at that moment, i'd go, "okay, a double axle?" "i think i can do it. it seems appropriate." >> and that's the way it is, monday, september the second, 1963. ( van morrison plays "into the mystic" ) >> ♪ we were born before the wind also younger than the sun ♪ ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic ♪ >> his legacy will be one of the great legacies of, you know, great americans. it sounds overstated, but it isn't. he's...he's that important to us, not just to generations before him, but to generations coming up. >> walter got, early on, that this job is part handholding, and so all of us in this line of work who-- on days like 9/11--
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have been forced into any kind of explanatory roll, walter is with you, whether you see him in the studio or not. >> america kind of loved him. america had a love affair with walter cronkite. >> he brought us all those stories, large and small, which would come to define the 20th century. that's why we loved walter. because in an era before blogs and email, cell phones and cable, he was the news. walter invited us to believe in him, and he never let us down. >> you know why? he was the best newsman. he was just dedicated to news. he really cared about what the news was, and he thought it was important to tell it to the american people. it's that simple. >> and walter's early lessons would be well kept in mind by all of us who have followed him, and that is to keep it on the news. tell people what happened that day-- keep it short, keep it direct, and keep it accurate. >> we have no intention of
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letting them take over southeast asia. >> a man of integrity at a time when we needed it, at a time when we still need it. a man, a legacy of someone who believes in the first amendment as being one of the prime directives of democracy, but also of civilization. the idea of speaking out, and speaking directly. >> if someone has integrity, to me, that is the finest attribute they can have. that means honor at a time when so many people are dishonorable. and i think walter cronkite was and will always be the personification of those qualities. >> you miss these people who stand above the horizon a little bit and remind you where to look. you miss people who seem to stand for the...
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not just something, but stand for us. >> there were others, and they were very good, but they were not walter. no one has that voice today. no one has that power today, either in print or in radio or television, and maybe that's not the worst thing. >> that's probably good that there will never be a most trusted man in america again. because if we're not lucky enough to get walter cronkite, then we might be in a lot of trouble if they were really trusted. >> it just so happens that everybody's trust was... was put in the right place. that's the lucky part of all this. >> we were proud to work with him, for him. we loved him. >> ta-dah! >> what i miss about walter is that 2:30, 3:30 in the morning, "let's have another drink. let's find another friendly saloon." >> who still got the scotch they said they were going to give me?
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>> jokes. not the more do-er first amendment man. it was that wonderful, fun-loving, life-loving kid, really. >> i've been delighted that i've been able to be a journalist all my life, from the time i was a boy in high school until today. i think it all worked out pretty well. >> you will never again have a day when one man or one woman says, "all right, listen up, america. i'm going to tell you what happened, and then at the end, i'm going to say, 'and that's the way it was'. and you're going to believe me." >> this is glorious.
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>> this is walter cronkite. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh


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